Manestra kolopimpiri, bourtheto, savouro, sofrito, dolce – yarbo, tsigareli, pastrochio, bianco and pastitsada. For the last five centuries, all these “dishes” with the quite odd names listed above, were mainly what the Corfiot ‘’cuisine’’ had to offer. As time went by, some recipes either disappear or lost their originality and changed. But fortunately ‘’Her majesty” Pastitsada remained unshaken on her throne , and as it looks, it stays forever exactly where she belongs – on top!
Half drop of history
Manos Nathanail, in his article ‘’The pastitsada manifest’’, claims that the birth of Pastitsada counts back centuries! She was born in 489 during the battle between two German Kings. Later she became the favorite dish of Venetian Dives. During the 4 centuries of the Venetian occupation, Pastitsada was established as the queen of all dishes, queen of taste, good life, celebration and hospitality. And without any doubt, she has kept her title until today
The daily battle
Pastitsada is the leading power in every Corfiot ‘’cuisine’’. From the folk and urban cooking of housewifes at Madouki and Cambielo to the open fire of Lefkimmi’s cooking and the noble ‘’cuisine’’ of the old nobility of Corfu. As it happens with all great personalities, Pastitsada has always been the cause for plenty of disputes. The question is not who really loves her and who doesn’t because everybody simply adores her. What needs to be told is the truth about her original recipe, the exact right way she should be prepared and cooked. Apart from all various writings on this subject (see Aliki Katsaros’ s simple recipe on bostanistas.gr and the sophisticated recipe of the chef Dimitris Papazimouri on caruzo.gr) plenty of arguments have been raised between Corfiots all around the island about the right way that Pastitsada should be made.
-You don’t know what you say, says the one
-And you don’t know anything about history, says the other
-In the very early years when tomato was unknown on the island, they used only red pepper instead, says a third one
– But then tomato came to Corfu from America and replaced the red pepper, says a lady who avoids eating red pepper as it is forbidden for her ulcer.
The quarrel over the origins of Pastitsada takes place almost every day; at the streets, in the neighborhood or even at the beach. And it is also true that some lousy tavernas dare to call ‘’Pastitsada’’ the simple recipe of beef with tomato sauce which is, by all means, totally wrong! The fraud, certainly worth a fine, has hopefully started to fade away.
We searched and found
The more you search, the more you get closer to finding the authentic recipe of Pastitsada. We must not forget that, as time goes by, the traditional ‘’cuisine’’ of a place along with all other traditions, may slightly change but hopefully never loses its base.
Mikro Nisi looked for the base of Pastitsada in the traditional ‘’cuisine’’ of Lefkimmi. And the result: The taste of it drove us crazy and we literally almost fainted by its fantastic smell! We were taken back in time and remembered our childhood, the Sunday lunches, the summer tavernas, the grandmother’s hands grating cheese over the pasta side dish which is always served with Pastitsada’s fantastic sauce. We ended up with the following recipe:
11 kinds of herbs and spices
Beef or rooster
A little bit of tomato
Lots of love
All of the above are the right ingredients for the right Pastitsada and the basis of all truth about Pastitsada. We are proud of ourselves for finding it! Because we strongly believe that authenticity is finally the basis of our well-being!
At Mikro Nisi, we serve amazing cocktails, throw amazing parties dancing to the music of the Dj and get passionate in the view of the sun while it dives in the crystal clear sea. For us, it’s the celebration of life! And most of all, at Mikro Nisi, we eat well! Eating here is a pleasure. We eat what the people of Lefkimmi used to eat honoring the old -time memories every plate brings along. Hunger, exhaustion, care, happiness; all elements that compose Lefkimmi’s old story.
The chef, Manolis Manatos, cooks and creates under the simple but specific rules of tradition and quality. Cooking in the wood stove and the open fire, he manages to unite his Corfiot origin with his creative art; the art of cooking. The final result is dishes of unforgettable taste and great sentimental value like the one and only Pastitsada.
For us, at Mikro Nisi, Pastitsada remains ‘’Her majesty”, the world leader we simply adore!
*Magazine Portoni, Christmas 2018 part 7